People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can get a free test from their doctor or community health provider. They will decide which type of test is best for you.
If you want to get a test for another reason — for example, because you are visiting friends or whānau — you can now buy a RAT at some retail outlets.
If you have had COVID-19 before
If you have already tested positive:
you do not need to have another test before you end your isolation period. You may test positive for COVID-19 after you have recovered and no longer have symptoms, but you are unlikely to be infectious beyond 24 hours after your symptoms have ended.
you should not get further COVID-19 tests for 28 days from the onset of your original infection — the result may continue to be positive, but this does not necessarily mean you are still infectious.
if you are low risk and have COVID-19-like symptoms after a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, you do not need to take another test. Stay home and recover, until 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms
if you have an underlying health condition or have COVID-19-like symptoms that are getting worse after a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, you should seek advice from a health practitioner or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
Types of tests
There are 2 types of COVID-19 tests available to the general public in New Zealand.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the main testing method being used now for people with COVID-19 symptoms or who are a Household Contact. Results take about 20 minutes.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are still being used in some situations. Results take between 2 and 5 days. A health professional can advise you on the right test to take in your situation.